Reject amendment to Act 355 even if tabled as Private Member’s Bill, MPs told
KUCHING: All members of parliament ( MPs) especially those from Sabah and Sarawak should not drop the ball but remain steadfast in rejecting the Private Member’s Bill tabled by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to amend the Syariah Courts ( Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355), even after the announcement by the Prime Minister that the federal government would not take over and table the said private member’s Bill.
Dr Kelvin Yii, special assistant to state Democratic Action Party ( DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen, in highlighting this yesterday, reminded that the Bill may well still be tabled, albeit as a Private’s Member Bill.
“All the Sabah and Sarawak MPs especially those from Barisan Nasional ( BN) must stay true to their objection and be present in Parliament to make their objection known. Not turning up or abstaining from voting is as bad as voting ‘Yes’ to the bill,” he said in a press statement.
To-date, Yii observed that the BN MPs have remained ambiguous on the Bill with no official consensus to reject it as announced by the Prime Minister.
“That means there is still a risk that not only the Speaker will be told to prioritise the Private’s Members Bill, but also BN MPs especially those from Umno might still vote for the Bill,” he elaborated.
The Bill, he added, will be passed if it gets the majority vote from MPs in attendance.
“If Umno or PAS have the majority during the parliamentary session on that day, the Bill may still very well become law. By not being present to vote against the Bill, absentee MPs are effectively agreeing with Umno and PAS and thus contributing to the high possibility of its passing,” he warned.
Yii likened staying away or abstaining from voting to shirking the responsibility the people had entrusted to MPs and a betrayal of the trust of the people who had voted them to defend the Federal Constitution.
“If the Bill is ever passed, these MPs will share the same responsibility or blame that a bill, contrary to the wishes of the people who voted for them, is able to see the light of day,” he said.
“No amount of explanation will ever justify their failure to stand up for the beliefs of the people of Sarawak and Sabah against an Act that is contrary to the Federal Constitution,” he added.
Yii thus called on all MPs especially those from Sabah and Sarawak to stand firm and not waiver in their objection against the said Bill to protect and uphold the Federal Constitution as well as the Malaysia Agreement 1963.